It’s OK to say their name

After spending the past 30 Fourth of July’s together, which was also my husband’s birthday, it is one of the more difficult holidays to get through for me.

Year one I made a nice Facebook post with photos. Then I made sure to be away from home. My brother and sister and mom and our kids joined us in Cape Cod for a family reunion. It was a good distraction and no one really mentioned Mike. I was avoiding the pain and family was hopeful that I’d be OK, so I was.

Year 2 I again avoided our traditional celebration of the 4th and accepted an invite to a barbecue with new friends. Hoping to again avoid sad feelings it backfired when I was overcome with a sobbing fit in the bathroom.

These new friends were lovely but they didn’t know it was Mike’s Birthday.

They didn’t know about all the crazy parties we used to go to with his high school friends and those fireworks! They didn’t know we used to host parties at our house and that Mike made amazing steak sandwiches.

There was the sweltering hot year we all jumped in our above ground swimming  pool. Even the grandparents climbed up and over the ladder in hopes of chilling out. The group got rowdy when the entire party started to play the game “keep the beach ball in the air”. That was fun and I know there’s a picture around somewhere to recall that memory.

My new friends are great but they didn’t know about the tradition of having a Carvel cake with candles for Mike on the 4th of July.  They didn’t know that he loved the Grateful Dead and that he always played “Jack Straw” in the morning of his birthday because of that one line “…leaving Texas 4th day of July.  Sun so hot, clouds so low, the eagles filled the sky”

They didn’t know that his favorite photo was the one with all the neighborhood women kissing him on his 50th birthday.

It wasn’t their fault. I was happy to have new friends but I also felt like I was cheating. I wanted people to remember him too.

I spoke to some friends recently who expressed how much they miss my husband in their lives too. I’ve been selfish and the healing has been about me but maybe I could do something to bring us all together. We could share stories and speak his name.

I wasn’t sure I was ready for this.  But the past 2 years I felt a bit detached.  I was ready to share the day with people who loved me and Mike and it would be Ok to share memories, I thought.

My mother in law once shared with me how her mother dealt with the loss of her son in the service back in the 1940’s. After her mom mourned alone in her bedroom for several weeks she came out of the room. It was understood that no one would mention her brother and so no one did. That’s how it was done.

Fast forward to last week on the 4th of July. I displayed the poster boards I had hastily put together for the wake almost 3 years ago. I asked people to light a candle and recall a memory about Mike.

People walked around the house and deck saying Mike’s name, sharing stories with his parents and me and helping us all heal from this tragic, senseless loss.

We shared a brunch of quiche, bagels, fruit and prosecco. Mike would have enjoyed the gathering, in fact I’m sure he was with us.

So often I hear that widows and widowers are sad that no one says their spouse’s name anymore. No one is really sure what the reaction will be, but most of us are happy to know that our loved ones are remembered.

They made an impact on us.  We think about them all the time.

They made an impact on others. It’s not just something to leave on a tombstone…it’s nice to share stories and keep those memories alive.  Especially the ones that make us laugh.

How people live their lives, how they make others feel are what we remember.

I love to laugh with friends over funny memories of Mike. I also appreciate people who recall how much he loved me and our boys.

This is all part of the support we get from others that enables us to move forward and embrace life and more love in our lives.

Thank you for reading and letting me share my journey and Mike’s memory.

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Comments

24 comments on “It’s OK to say their name”
  1. Judy says:

    Feeling the same way. Love when my friends express how they miss him.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Me too. Thanks for reading.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. We all loved him and it was nice to be together on his birthday. I am sure he was there with us!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks Karen for helping share the day.

  3. Leslie says:

    I am glad to hear that you enjoy hearing Mike’s name as I try and mention the name of the person who has passed to a loved one and share a story. I always hope that the story may be one they have not heard. XO

    1. runawaywidow says:

      That’s great Leslie. Sharing stories is the best

  4. Bianca says:

    Making new friends mean new traditions and people to let into your life. You don’t need to forget the old but also let in the new.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. Yes it’s so important to let the new in too.

  5. justbusylovinglife says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, but you have a great positive attitude about it and I love how you honor him.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comment. It’s so hard to lose your husband but by talking about them it helps the healing process.

  6. ehdesignmn says:

    Thank you for this!! I have a dear friend of mine who has just recently lost her husband at a young age and it’s nice to hear stories like this in hopes I can have an idea of where she’s at. Thank you and I’m so sorry for your loss!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading and I hope this post does help your friend.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this story! The 4th of July was also my Grandma’s birthday and we used to throw huge parties. When she passed away unexpectedly, the holiday changed a lot of for our family. It’s so much better to share memories of loved ones instead of pretending they never existed.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      You are right. So nice to remember our loved ones together.

  8. I feel for you, losing yoru best friend and father of yoru kids must be a difficult thing. I have had many loses in my life but I still have my husband. We all mourn in different ways. I am glad you are coping with it and remembering the good times.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading. Loss is something we all will or have dealt with.

      1. Lynn says:

        So glad to have found your blog. You are an inspiration to me, and I see, so many others. If you happen to return to Siesta Key, where I live, I’d love to meet you and take you to lunch!

      2. runawaywidow says:

        Wow. That’s so sweet. Next time I go down there I’ll let you know. Thanks!!

  9. Erica says:

    Sorry for your loss. I can see why the 4th is so difficult every year. It is so important to be able to talk about people and remember them. To me, that is a vital part of the healing process.

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Yes. Thanks for reading and your comment. We all need to help remember our loved ones.

  10. mary yowell says:

    I’m happy your staying busy I know it can be tough but your a great role model for everyone!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks. That’s so nice. Keeping busy is definitely working for me.

  11. lynsire says:

    I love reading personal stories. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for reading.

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